August 2020

In these days of planetary crisis, we are encouraged to think globally and act locally. Because the planet is one living, interdependent system, our human habits and decisions have ripple effects we are barely conscious of.

Take the issue of clean drinking water. In researching and pondering this issue, I am faced squarely with the unsustainability of a meat-based diet, which essentially requires a water-guzzling diet.

Water is a finite resource essential to all life. Clean, drinkable water is only a tiny portion of Earth’s water supply. Only 2.5 percent of all water is drinkable or usable for irrigation. The rest is salt water—essential in the hydrological process but useless in assuaging thirst and rejuvenating our bodies. Without clean, fresh water we die of dehydration or water-related diseases or because our food sources wither. Our need and our call is to respect this precious gift and to honor its limits.

The water crisis will grow as the realties of human population, global warming and pollution continue. Water needs are also an unspoken reason for many wars in the Middle East and beyond. We need such global awareness to give vision to our local actions and personal habits, such as eating. We need to green our thinking and our choices. We need to live more simply so that the planet may live.

Conscientious attention to any one global crisis will lead us to all the others and to the felt awareness that this small, blue planet is one sacred community of life. Thankfully, this is happening more and more. It cannot be too soon.

Mary McCann, IHM